Add a Fitness Center to Your Pool

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Whether operating an existing pool or planning a new aquatic facility, you should strongly consider a fitness center for your facility. With the advent of cross-training and the popularity of aerobic exercise, now is the time to place state-of-the-art fitness centers in swimming centers. This movement is becoming commonplace because many of the expensive necessities (locker rooms, showers and so forth) required by fitness centers already exist in aquatic facilities. While many aquatic administrators worry about the high cost of fitness equipment, inexpensive leasing agreements are now available.

One "Swim/gym" success story can be found at Penn State University. The McCoy Natatorium, built in 1967 on Penn State's University Park Campus, features three separate indoor swimming pools with seating capacity for 1,000 spectators plus a large outdoor pool facility. One of the unique features of this facility is a bridge overlooking the indoor swimming pools. The bridge, which was originally designed for radio and television coverage, has not been used in this capacity, however. Major meets are no longer held at Penn State because there are only six lanes in each of the pools. Eight lanes are now required for most championship meets and as a result, this spacious bridge has been neglected for more than 20 years.

Rather than wasting this unused space, administrators pondered what could be placed on the bridge. Presently, the bridge is the site of a beautiful, state-of-the-art cardiovascular fitness center. And there's nothing like having a gym overlooking the water!

Many concerns were voiced regarding the swimming pool environment, namely excessive heat, humidity, and noise. It was believed that the aggressive nature of the air quality of the swimming pools would ruin much of the equipment, or pose a risk to swimmers and other participants on the pool deck, These concerns never materialized once the fitness center was on the bridge. All expectations of success were surpassed during this experiment with the Fitness Loft accepting 300 to 500 participants daily.

Fitness centers are rapidly being added to swimming facilities throughout the country with positive results. why add a fitness center to a swimming pool? There are numerous advantages of this creative approach. Although many pools do not have the luxury of a spacious bridge overlooking the pools, other rooms, hallways, and decks can be safely converted to fitness centers.

* Little renovation is required. Because locker rooms, showers, toilets and other amenities already exist in a swimming facility, there is no need to add them to accommodate a fitness center. Often, you can place equipment near the pool in a former storage room or office, so constructing a new room may not be necessary. Many pools have, in fact, placed their fitness equipment right on the pool deck. If the equipment is monitored and maintained it will function well for a long time. Surprisingly, many fitness center participants do not use the locker rooms. They're arrive dressed to workout and then leave to shower at home.

* Cross-training has become popular. In the past, joggers, swimmers, and cyclists simply stuck to their own sport without attempting to work out in other sports areas. However, sports medicine specialists now encourage cross-training to prevent injuries and overtraining and with the advent of triathlons, cross-training is now more popular than ever. John Fay, who owns and operates the Tepid Baths in Aukland, New Zealand, strongly urges Americans to work more with triathletes. He suggests that triathletes can be self-made runners and cyclists but they often need instruction in competitive swimming. By adding fitness centers to swimming pools, training for all three events can take place under one roof. This is extremely valuable, particularly in inclement weather.

* It adds flexibility to pool programming. Aquatic administrators are aware of how easy it is to shut down an entire pool because of a swimming meet or other large function.

source: Griffiths, Tom, Parks & Recreation

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